Yesterday, Tuesday, 20 November 2018, the winners of the Department of Agriculture’s annual food security agri awards competition were announced at a ceremony held in Villiersdorp.

The competition, held in Villiersdorp and surrounding areas Lebanon, Nuweberg and Klein Begin was a follow-up to the official World Food Day celebrations that were held there in 2017.

A total of forty one household gardeners and six community gardens entered the competition.

All of the gardens were judged on the criteria of good gardening practices, the variety of vegetables produced to ensure a varied diet, innovation and water and soil conservation.

The overall winner was John Hartzenberg from Lebanon. A full list of all the winners in all of the categories is listed below.

The event was introduced by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in 2011 with the objective of encouraging subsistence food producers to produce their own food in a way that is both sustainable, and addresses the challenges of food security in rural areas.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schafer said: “Poverty is a major driver of food insecurity. In South Africa, 13.8 million people lived below the food poverty line in 2015. Household and community food gardens are an important tool to ensure that we meet the sustainable development goals of zero hunger by 2030.”

She said: “We congratulate all the winners in the competition today, as well as all of those who entered. We hope that this competition encourages others to start their own food gardens which contribute towards household food security, and can help provide a balanced, healthy diet.”

Winner, John Hartzenberg said: “I am a pensioner and was looking for something to keep me busy, so I started the garden. It keeps me fit and healthy.”

John has a variety of vegetables in his garden: Cabbage, beetroot, potatoes, onions, carrots, spinach, parley, beans, cauliflower and turnips. He produces for himself and his family, gives some away and sells the rest. He says the secret of his success is keeping the soil well fertilised. In order to produce good quality vegetables, the soil must be looked after.

In the past financial year, the Department provided assistance to 71 community food security projects, 16 school food gardens and supplied 1 059 households with the means to grow their own food, through the “suitcase programme”.

This is a programme in which food insecure households are provided with a suitcase containing seeds, garden tools, irrigation aids and fertilizers- everything needed to establish a food garden.

An impact evaluation of the programme has found that 78% of supported community food gardens, 93% of schools and 65% of households supported, were able to maintain productive gardens. Almost a quarter of food consumed came via self-produced means like vegetable gardening.

Before receiving assistance, only 33% of food needs of beneficiaries were always met by the community food gardens. After receiving assistance, this increased to 80% of food needs always being met. For households, this measure increased from 37% before assistance was received, and 76% after.

Full list of winners:


John Hartzenberg, Lebanon


Best Household Garden- Villiersdorp

Gabriel Jacobus Klink


Best Household Garden-Lebanon

John Hartzenburg


Best Household Garden: Nuweberg

Adam van Schalkwyk


Best Household Garden: Klein Begin

Stina Saayman


Best Female farmer:

Margaret Fritz


Best Youth farmer:

Nomonde Mshwenya


Best disabled farmer:

Mbulelo Kibi


Best Elderly Farmer:

Florina Johnson


Best Community Garden:

Dagbreek, Villiersdorp


Media Queries:

Bianca Capazorio
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044